2009 NEWS

2009 NEWS > 6/4/09

SMOLTZ RIPS BRAVES' RELEASE OF GLAVINE

By Jon Paul Morosi, Fox Sports
Original Article HERE.

DETROIT - Hours after the Atlanta Braves released his close friend Tom Glavine, Red Sox right-hander John Smoltz talked openly about his disappointment in the way Braves management handled the situation.

"That's not how you treat people," Smoltz said after Boston's 10-5 victory over Detroit on Wednesday. "He didn't have a chance to fail at that level. ... That's not how you go about it. But they're in control. They make those decisions. They've made a lot of them lately."

Smoltz had spent his entire big-league career with the Braves 21 years, 210 victories, 708 appearances before leaving as a free agent in January. For much of that tenure, he teamed with Glavine and Greg Maddux to form the pre-eminent rotation in baseball.

Glavine, a Hall of Fame-bound left-hander with 305 victories, had thrown six scoreless innings in a minor league rehabilitation start Tuesday and appeared to be on the verge of returning to the majors. He would have received a $1 million bonus after being placed on the active roster but was released instead.

Braves general manager Frank Wren said the decision was based on performance, not business.

Smoltz said he spoke with Glavine after team officials gave him the news.

"Like a lot of things lately, they handled it in a very interesting way and one that leaves you scratching your head," Smoltz said. "It's unfortunate for Tommy. Obviously, I'm using a very soft word in 'disappointed.' That ain't right, to go that far in rehab then, right before the time, do that.

"That's not my problem anymore. I just feel badly for a teammate of mine that I had for a long time." Glavine has been working his way back from minor offseason surgeries on his elbow and shoulder. His one-year contract could have been worth as much as $4.5 million, if he attained bonuses linked to service time in the majors.

When asked if he thought the decision was financially motivated, Smoltz said, "I know too much. Let's just put it that way."

Smoltz said the Atlanta organization has "changed a few times, ever since Ted left," in reference to former owner Ted Turner. Smoltz found it curious that Glavine's velocity was cited as a reason for the move, saying, "For them to talk about his velocity is kind of funny. No one's ever talked about his velocity before."

Smoltz isn't sure if Glavine, 43, will pitch in the majors this season.

"He's at a point in his career where this was probably going to be the only situation that he would have worked this hard to try and come back," Smoltz said. "But I don't know. I know he didn't retire."